Ed Bartley will be inducted into the Kansas Music Educators Assn. Hall of Fame tonight.
But Bartley says the real honor goes to those associated with Lawrence High School, where he taught band from 1970 to 1984.
"Lawrence, the Lawrence schools and Lawrence children and parents and teachers are a major part of my being recognized," Bartley said. "Without that major stop -- my major time in Lawrence -- this probably wouldn't have happened. The accomplishments these people afforded me certainly make me very humble."
Bartley, 65, will be honored during an ceremony tonight at the KMEA annual convention in Wichita.
He will become the 77th educator inducted into the Hall of Fame. He was president of the KMEA when the Hall was begun in 1975 and helped induct the first class, which included longtime KU band director Russell Wiley.
Bartley's 14 years teaching in Lawrence also included time directing bands at Southwest Junior High School and Broken Arrow and Schwegler schools.
Previously, the Dodge City native taught at schools in Deerfield, Stafford and Johnson.
"I've always believed you needed to start in a small school where you can make all the mistakes and the kids will still love you and the parents thought you were doing fine," Bartley said.
When he came to Lawrence, the LHS band had 96 members. By 1978, it had grown to 260. He took the band to play in Washington, D.C., once and to Portland, Ore., several times.
"The kids who came out of that program, the band directors and choir directors all over the state of Kansas, that's the big accomplishment," Bartley said. "You hope your influence, in a positive way, has influenced the kids."
Bartley now lives in Gladstone, Mo., where he helps bands and choirs raise funds through his company, Cherrydale Farms. He also continues to judge band competitions.
Dean Jordan, a Lawrence resident who played oboe in the LHS band from 1973-1976, said Bartley's honor was well-deserved.
"The students just loved him as a director," he said. "It seemed like he really built the band program there."